So much in Jerusalem, Israel, is old and new.
We used to joke that a good friend is defined as
someone who leaves Jerusalem to visit you in Beer Sheva.
With family in Beer Sheva, over the years,
we have visited the desert city many times.
I used to say the only place that was green was this cemetery.
The Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery,
or the ANZAC cemetery, as most of the British soldiers
buried here were Australian and New Zealanders,
who fell in the World War I battles against the Turks,
ending the domination of the Ottoman Empire.
But things are changing,
Carasso Science Park opened in 2013,
and is the largest science park in Israel.
Remembering the British,
is Allenby Garden.
The park was established in early 1900s by the Turks,
After WWI, it became a memorial to General Edmund Allenby,
was destroyed during the Arab uprising in 1929,
and was finally rebuilt in 2014.
One day when it is not so hot,
it would be interesting to follow the ANZAC trail.
Across the road is the Negev Museum of Art,
the main art museum in southern Israel,
housed in what was the 20th century Governor’s house.
The current exhibit is called,
“Pulp and Fiction”
where all pieces are made out of paper.
“Lost Forest” by Jan Fairbairn-Edwards of France
and “The Burmese Story” by Naama Aaronson of Israel
are just two of the works.
Who knew that paper art was started 35 years ago
at the Beer Sheva Station of the old Turkish railway?
More of the old city and new
in the same area is the one mosque,
built by the Turks.
It went unused as a mosque for decades,
and was the city’s Archaeological Museum.
Since 2011, it has been home to the
Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Cultures.
Ancient stones with Thuluth, Arabic and Kufic script
are in the courtyard.
Inside the restored mosque,
is the current exhibit of old prayer rugs,
with new glass lamps decorated in Arabic hanging above them.
A Turkish flag flies at the Train Yard Compound
which was restored and opened in 2014.
Bedouins are still around.
Going into and out of Beer Sheva
one can see the old and new,
with the new train track over the old Turkish one.
But it is at Be’er Avraham,
located near the Beer Sheva River,
that one can really appreciate the old and new.
An international visitor center,
showcasing the life of Avraham Avinu,
in a 3D presentation, opened in 2013.
In old days, to get to Beer Sheva,
it seemed it took as long as a camel trip,
standing on those Egged buses
on hot Friday afternoons.
With the new modern highways going to Beer Sheva,
it is not like it used to be,
see the Old City and new neighborhoods.
but we will have to find another way to define good friends.